A Lancaster County police officer ended up driving a transplant team and a donor liver to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Center City after their SUV slid off the road in snowy weather.
"It was not something I was expecting to do in my career, to be honest," said Cocalico Township Police Sgt. Darrick Kepley, when reached by phone on Wednesday.
The transplant team, which included a surgeon, resident, and an assistant, had left York Hospital and were headed to Philadelphia when they slid off the road Saturday morning in East Cocalico, PennLive reported.
Kepley was on patrol and came upon the scene at the entrance to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and saw the disabled car.
"The front driver side tire was broken off; no one was hurt," he said.
The team was in the process of trying to find an ambulance to get them to Philadelphia where the patient was already in the operating room, but the closest unit was in Reading, the 20-year police veteran said.
"Time was of the essence and with the weather I just decided to offer our services," Kepley said. The surgeon and resident — along with the boxed-up liver — piled into his Ford Inteceptor and took off with lights and sirens going.
The snow-covered roads and Philadelphia traffic made the trip a bit of a challenge, the father of two said.
"It was an interesting drive to Philly — not like when I am going to a Phillies game, it was not like that at all," said Kepley, who gets to a few games a year. "I didn't think I'd ever be driving through Center City Philly with light and sirens on."
Once the team and liver were safely at the hospital, Kepley immediately had to head back to Lancaster County and to work. He didn't even have a chance to stop for lunch, he said.
"I was trying to figure out how I would get down to Geno's but it didn't work out," he said. "It will have to wait until next time."